Liberal Saviours, Sadly.
The liberal wars have just heated up, in the Indian chatterati, with the “Indian Muslim” as the unwitting, or an unwilling pawn in this game which every “Indian Liberal” Knight In Shining and Polished armour is out to win.
Note that till today, no “Indian Muslim” has had anything to say about it, or even if they have anything to say, it has not been published.
Harsh Mander’s piece places the blame for isolation of the Indian Muslim Voice squarely on the supposedly secular political parties on the basis of a statement made by Sonia Gandhi. The statement in question actually calls out the “other ” Party’s modus operandi. The message she is sending is that the BJP wants everyone to believe that the INC is only a party of Muslims. Harsh Mander, however, makes it sound as if this is an admission of guilt as if from this statement we can infer that the INC is a party of everyone but Muslims.
Did Sonia imply that? I don’t think so.This is the predicament of the Congress today. Too Muslim for one side, not Muslim enough for the other.
In fact, I have always maintained that for the INC to survive, it doesn’t need to be seen as Team B to any other party.
It must set its own agenda, or as millennials would say, the INC needs to make “secular” “liberal ” and other such words, which have almost become cuss words, cool again.
That’s the only way to go.
Be inclusive, even if it means being comfortable with Burka clad women and Topi dhari men at its political rallies.
Which brings us to the next series in the Liberal Wars game, Ram Guha’s despicable piece here, where he argues that a burkha is as dangerous as a Trishul. If this is not intentionally malicious, then at the least it is patently stupid.
The other argument he makes, which gives ground to the stupidity theory is that women are free to wear the Burka at home ( Duh ).
Then he goes on and on about how Indian Muslims haven’t got a “liberal” leadership, and so on.
Thankfully, Apoorvanand has rebutted this.
The undercurrent in all of this is that everyone wants to “save” the Indian Muslim, wants to tell what is “good” for them, and what behaviour is “acceptable” so that the majority can fight for them.
This is something I disagree with, on many counts.
First, anything with conditions isn’t ‘rescue’ or ‘saving’ it is a trade with one side sometimes asking for several pounds of flesh.
If you want to speak for the minorities, at least know about them, talk to them, read about them, don’t make tall claims in the air which are based on prejudice.
The best would be to find a minority voice and give it air, let it speak for itself.
Let go of the savior complex, at least.
Saying things like you are free to wear the Burka at home tells us that you don’t have the faintest idea why women who choose to wear the Burka do so.
Second, the onus of a liberal secular and inclusive society is never on the minority alone. The minority can do only so much, the greater burden lies on the majority, to reach out and integrate ( yes, the majority must integrate with the minority as much as the minority is supposed to ) and assimilate.
Let go of prejudice, know, in every sense of the word, people who are next door, and who are your countrypersons ( surprised? Yes they are and will remain so )
How about renting houses to minorities, for example, that’s a good start as any.
Junaid is an Anesthesiologist, who when not making surgeries comfortable for people, reminds you to not let your hatred for him come in the way of your own liberty. He tweets at @juneymb